Written by Colton Rooney
Why is Sleep Important?
Fundamentally, sleep is integral to every facet of human activity including body function, cognitive function, athletic performance, and our general mood. Despite this, many people neglect to acknowledge just how important sleep is. The root of this problem is mainly due to the question: How much sleep do I REALLY need?
How Much Sleep is Recommended?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:
Teenagers should aim for around 8-10 hours of sleep per twenty-four hours. Research suggests that 7 out of 10 high school students do not reach at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. The Mayo Clinic cites that maintaining at least 7 hours of sleep per night can prevent weight gain, high blood pressure, and depression.
How To Achieve Quality Sleep:
Sticking to a sleep routine is crucial, especially on school or work nights when daily cognitive function is essential for learning or focusing. Maintaining a dedicated bedtime for each day of the week can allow your body to gain a sense of repetition, make it easier to fall asleep at night, and help you feel more refreshed in the morning.
Limit looking at electronic devices (e.g., phones, TV, computer) before bed. Anxiety from watching stress-inducing content late at night can impact sleep. This is especially prevalent in social media platforms such as TikTok where content is unpredictable and randomized. Other studies have shown that blue light from cell phones can impact the production of melatonin, a hormone essential for the sleep cycle. Instead, consider reading a book or listening to calming music before sleep to ensure a long and replenishing sleep cycle.
Abstain from caffeine (e.g. coffee, energy drinks) intake in the 8 hours prior to bed, so as not to impact melatonin production. Caffeine is also known to impact the quality of deep sleep, which is an essential stage for growth hormone, muscle recovery, cognitive recovery, and regulating glucose metabolism.
Avoid eating fatty foods or large meals shortly before bed. Studies suggest that sleep is harder to achieve when digesting a large meal. Instead, consider a small snack before bedtime that is both light on the stomach and easy to digest.
Mental Benefits of Sleep
A healthy amount of sleep provides many positive benefits which can drastically improve both mood and brain cognition. First, sleep is shown to help serve as a mood booster. Because sleep restores energy levels, individuals may feel more positive and energized through their days. Studies show that people who do not receive a healthy amount of sleep tend to be at higher risk for mental health disorders. They are also shown to be more irritable and easily frustrated when sleep deprived, which can later evolve into more long-term issues such as anxiety and chronic depression.
Brain function improvement is also a long-lasting benefit of a healthy amount of sleep. Sleep is imperative to important aspects of brain function such as memory and learning. Learning in both a school setting and work environments can become difficult when sleep becomes scarce. Similarly, sleep allows for the brain to branch together various experiences to form dreams, allowing the human mind to become more creatively active. During long resting periods, neurons in the mind can rest and actively prepare themselves for the following day. Lack of sleep will lead to decreased concentration, reduced creativity, and lower brain cognition due to overworked neurons.
Physical Benefits of Sleep
A healthy amount of sleep also allows for various physical benefits ranging from a healthier heart, regulated blood sugar, and a stronger immune system. Sufficient amount of sleep is beneficial to the heart as sleep ensures that the cardiovascular system can rest. A rested heart means lower blood pressure and a slower heart rate to recover from the day-to-day stress. If sleep is neglected, blood pressure can rise to disproportionately high levels leading to potential heart attack or heart failure. Similarly, sleep supports healthy insulin levels, which allows for more efficient blood sugar regulation. Adults who do not get enough sleep could be at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Sleep can also benefit the immune system by maintaining natural killer (NK) cells which play an important role in killing tumor cells. It also helps regulate cytokines, which are small proteins released during sleep that help the body to fight off potential diseases or infections.
In terms of athletic performance, a well-rested athlete can expect more energy and decreased exhaustion. Athletes also tend to have faster reaction times allowing them to think and coordinate more quickly in intense situations during games. This simple difference of optimizing a sleep routine can drastically change game results on the court or on the field.
Sleep is crucial in providing the proper energy, brain function, and muscle growth and repair for all ages. Adequate and quality sleep is irreplaceable for performance in the daytime... therefore ensuring a healthy dose is an absolute must!
CoreForm360 wishes you a plentiful and restoring sleep routine to get you through your workout, sports game, or job! Learn more about us here...